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[en-guhlf] /ɛnˈgʌlf/
verb (used with object)
to swallow up in or as in a gulf; submerge:
The overflowing river has engulfed many small towns along its banks.
to plunge or immerse, as into a gulf:
He engulfed himself in his studies.
Also, ingulf.
Origin of engulf
First recorded in 1545-55; en-1 + gulf
Related forms
engulfment, noun
1. envelop, bury, inundate, deluge, swamp. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for engulfment
Historical Examples
  • This cess-pool offered its engulfment to the city and the universe.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
  • The central portions of the dome have since been removed by engulfment, or denudation, or by both these causes.

    Principles of Geology Charles Lyell
  • The first effect is instantaneous, then the engulfment becomes more gradual.

    A Tenderfoot Bride Clarice E. Richards
  • Beyond, the opaqueness was massive; to penetrate thither seemed horrible, an entrance into it appeared like an engulfment.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
  • This engulfment is the sepulchre which assumes a tide, and which mounts from the depths of the earth towards a living man.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
British Dictionary definitions for engulfment


verb (transitive)
to immerse, plunge, bury, or swallow up
(often passive) to overwhelm: engulfed by debts
Derived Forms
engulfment, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for engulfment



1550s, from en- (1) "make, put in" + gulf. Related: Engulfed; engulfing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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